Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Grandmother Agness Pilgrim and me -- Photo by Marisol Villanueva
My October reunion in Brasilia with Grandmother Agnes Pilgrim, one of my dearest friends from Oregon, brought tears of joy to my eyes. At near 90 years of walking this earth, she traveled all the way to Brazil to be with the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. May the Creator grant her many more years of spreading her smiles and blessings around the world.
Salvé Vovó Aggie
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Eye-to-eye with Alvaro Tukano
[Correction: In an earlier version of this post Alvaro Tukano was mistakenly identified as Pajé Santxiê. Sorry for the confusion. See a Pajé Santxîe photo at the end of this post.]
On a recent trip to Brasilia, I made a friend. It was an "Indian sort of thing" of looking into each others eyes and "just knowing." What happened is that I asked Alvaro Tukano if I could take his picture. He surprised me by grabbing my camera and giving it to someone else to take our picture. He looked into my eyes and said, "You are a warrior of the forest. You have friends. We need more friends." It was a done deal. Perhaps the "indigenous eye" already saw this post in the mind but I'm only now becoming aware of the story as I write this post.
"It's complicated", as they love to say in Brazil, but Alvaro Tukano knows that friendship can cut through the complexities. Here's the short version of the problem and how you can help:
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
... or at least start by singing about doing it. Even if the world stays as it is, we don't have to give them our sense of humor.
Thanks to Juba for posting this marvelous find.
When I was a child I loved to imagine faces and critters in the clouds or cracks in the sidewalks or, especially, in the bark of trees. A few weeks ago I spent a few hours wandering through the forest trying to recapture that child's way of seeing. I was able to record some of the results with the camera. (Guess I'm still crazy after all these years. Graças a Deus!)
"One hundred thousand people flocked to see the offical festive switch-on of the metal structure floating on Rio's Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. The 542 tonne structure, wrapped in 3.3 million light bulbs was the centrepiece of an eight minute fireworks show, which has become one of the city's main tourist attractions. More than a million people are expected to view the structure before the lights are turned off on Three Kings' Day on January 6." (via UK Telegraph)
Friday, November 25, 2011
In what may go down as one of the worst environmental crimes of the 21st Century, the Brazilian Senate voted on Wednesday to retain most of the bad changes to the national Forest Code that had passed the House of Deputies earlier this year. Brazil's international commitments to mitigating climate change, maintaining biodiversity and it's status before the upcoming RIO+20 global environmental meetings are now on collision course with the insatiable demand of its agri-business sector. In the coming months the issue will be laid squarely before President Dilma Rousseff who has thus far avoided comment.
Lynn Margulis receiving the National Science Award -- photo by Paul Hosefos/The New York Times
Lynn Margulis, who was one of the giants of evolutionary biology and the co-author with James Lovelock of the original Gaiia Hypothesis, has died. Famously and controversially she has asserted that life at the cellular level is a community and that mutuality or symbiosis is as significant as random mutation in evolution. She also challenged the New Age fuzzy-wuzzy gentle Earth Goddess spin given to the Gaiia Hypothesis saying that, "Gaiia is a tough bitch." But, in this era of climate change, her observation of what happens when science and culture clash strikes me as the most poignant: "If science doesn't fit in with the cultural milieu, people dismiss science, they never reject their cultural milieu!"
Even though I understand little of the deep science that underlies her work, I've always intuitively identified with her spirit and mission ("I didn't believe things from books or authorities; I wanted to find out for myself."). In reading about her today, I got a hint as to a possible source of my affinity toward her -- she was born in Chicago on March 5, 1938, as was I. Maybe, it's in the stars.
Continue over the jump for a text about Gaiia and a great video interview.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
My mother Alice Zabelin Gold was born in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day in 1910, the first of five children born to my Russian immigrant grandparents Barney and Minnie Zabelin who came to the USA for a better life. Alice gave her better life to me. I am eternally grateful.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
From the NY Times columnist Roger Cohen:
In France, according to a Pew Research Center survey, only 27 percent of the population now believes that “our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior.”
I haven’t read such depressing news in a long time. When humility overtakes French culture, it’s over, folks.
Here in the United States, according to the same survey, 60 percent of Americans over 50 believe “our culture is superior.”
I’m not sure what’s more terrifying: the new French modesty or an old U.S. delusion.
YES! Our new world of connectivity can be very beautiful.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Libraries can be a playground for the imagination. The Biblioteca Publica in Rio Branco is a marvelous place. Here is a single photo of trees, fish, cars, houses, books and more that I saw while going to the children's area. The child in my eye (and camera) was delighted.
Noah Friedman-Rudovsky for The New York Times -- Bolivian indigenous groups undertook a 325-mile march from the central lowlands to La Paz, to protest a Brazilian-backed road project through their territory. More Photos »
Re-posted from the NY Times
By SIMON ROMERO
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Sandal-clad indigenous protesters have excoriated their president, calling him a “lackey of Brazil.” Angry demonstrations in front of Brazil’s embassy here denounced its “imperialist” tendencies. Bolivian intellectuals lambasted the “São Paulo bourgeoisie,” likening them to the slave hunters who expanded the boundaries of colonial Brazil.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I recently had the privilege, at the Gathering of the Grandmothers in Brasilia, of meeting and listening to some representatives of the peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia.
The speaker said something that struck me as profound: "We don't have religion. We have nature." I know that I'll be contemplating its meaning for a long time. The message comes from the heart of the world.